Unleashing The Power Of Rebates For Contractors | Ep. 25

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As a contractor it’s time to slip into your super hero costume to start saving your client some money, start saving the planet and boosting your business.
 
What better way to show your expertise and authority than by becoming educated on all the eco-friendly rebates that can reduce the carbon footprints of your clients?
 
If you don’t know what some of these rebates are for your trade as a contractor, you’re not alone. As consumers there are a lot we don’t know either. That’s why it’s important as a contractor to help your clients navigate these unknowns.
 
Create that connection with your client and feel good about saving them some money all while reducing that carbon footprint.
 
Episode Covers:
  1. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
  2. Commercial building incentives for energy efficiency
  3. The various types of rebates including Energy Star
  4. How SOLAR tax credits can be a unique selling proposition for your business
 
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Transcription: 

Devon Hayes:

Hi, I’m Devon Hayes.

Amanda Joyce:

And I’m Amanda Joyce. And today’s topic is unleashing the power of energy rebates for contractors. And here’s why you should care. If you’re a contractor looking to boost sales, helping customers tap into rebates is a great way to turn energy into opportunity.

Devon Hayes:

Welcome to Trade Secrets, where we demystify digital marketing to help contractors get the most bang for their marketing bucks.

Amanda Joyce:

This is for you if you’re a contractor looking for actionable marketing insights.

Devon Hayes:

Learn from home services, industry experts to elevate your business through simplified marketing strategies.

Amanda Joyce:

Let’s dive into today’s trade secret.

Devon Hayes:

Okay. Well, take two on recording this podcast. We gave you guys the best 18 minutes of our lives about five minutes ago and never hit record.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, that’s a first here at Trade Secrets. That’s a first. It was a painful one.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, so this version is going to be even better.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, exactly, exactly. This is like gold 2.0. All right. And like all of our topics, we’re excited about this one. This is a good one.

Devon Hayes:

It really is because maybe we obviously keep educated and listen to all kinds of other podcasts, other contractor marketing podcasts and digital marketing. Anyway, we listen to them all. And so I haven’t seen this one covered anywhere, so we’re excited about it. But diving into it here, so I looked up some stats here, so I had no idea what they were. I knew it wasn’t great, but let’s see here, the average American carbon footprint is 16 tons, which is more than our Canadian neighbors for sure.

Amanda Joyce:

Imagine that.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah. We have a client in Australia, so we would be remiss to not mention that they’re not bad on their carbon footprint. I think we’re over them by one ton as well. And 32% of that comes from our home energy consumption, which is crazy, but speaks to all of our clients in the home services contractor trades space. So

Amanda Joyce:

Exactly. And on top of it, it speaks to all of us just as consumers and residents of the planet. This matters to all of us on so many levels. So that’s why I think this is such a cool topic. It can really positively impact your business if you take some of these tips and run with them, but also it’s really going to help the earth and help reduce the waste that we’re all producing all the time. So it’s a feel good topic across the board. So if you were a contractor who’s not already familiar with the rebates that are available for potential customers in your space, it’s okay. You’re not alone. There’s plenty of them that aren’t. Some of the contractors we talked to are in spaces that are maybe just getting a little bit more buzz right now. It’s more obvious, like someone who installs EV chargers, for example.

But there really, there’s opportunities across the board. Here in the US, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 included $8.8 billion in rebates for home efficiency and home electrification like appliance rebates and things. So there’s a lot out there, and some of them are little known to consumers. So this is a really exciting time to get on top of it, educate yourself as the contractor, and then help share that information with your customers. That’s not only going to make you the authority, it could save them money and it can save the planet. So I mean, what’s not to love about this topic?

Devon Hayes:

I feel like you need a cape when you’re doing those things. You’re saving someone money and the planet. I feel like that’s a superhero there. I don’t know what that name would be, but Captain Planet, Captain Savings. I don’t know. I don’t know. Nope, nope. There’s something in there.

Amanda Joyce:

There’s just so much out there. And some of the other stats we were reading about it too, I found that there’s also all these incentives for commercial building owners. So this goes whether you appeal to the homeowner, you appeal to property owners, like commercial property owners or all of the above. There’s all kinds of opportunity out there for those folks for installing rooftop solar energy systems, EV charging, there’s just all kinds of stuff that’s available across the board. So let’s talk about how you can dive in and take advantage of this and help create more sales in your business and pass this along to potential customers. So I feel like our first thing we should do here is dive in and give our real world example of someone who we feel is really winning at this.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. So this particular client, he’s an electrician in British Columbia and his business has grown, I don’t know, like gangbusters with EV charger installation. But breaking down the different incentives and rebates for the different types of properties for EV chargers, it was like solving a puzzle unto itself. And so this client of ours, he trained his sales team, they got really familiar with it and they really understood the process, but made that part of their sales process. And that helped convert the homeowners because they really understood what kind of rebates were involved with these EV charger installations. So it was different for multifamily housing versus single family housing. And it was also confusing because government websites don’t make anything easy.

Amanda Joyce:

Exactly. And so that was when he came to us and said this was a new focus and we needed to write content for him. We sat down with him, he shared all of the information that he leans on when he is educating customers, answered all of our very layman questions that every customer comes to him with. And then we were able to take all that information and create some really straightforward, no fluff information on each of these rebates. And in some cases there was federal opportunity and local opportunity and made sure that we created some really digestible content that a consumer could go to and say, “I’m looking at this for my personal property,” and go right there to the single family information and not get lost in the shuffle with all the other stuff.

So we helped him organize it in a really smart manner, and then he reported back to us that was helping even more in his sales process. He could send people to go look at that content and they were giving him really good feedback that made them feel more educated and less anxious about it and feel like they were seeing the whole picture of everything that was available to them and gave them the trust that this particular electrician could walk them through the process because he clearly had educated himself on it and then in the process educated them.

Devon Hayes:

And I think that’s so powerful and impactful. Providing the information in an easy to digest format is wonderful, but also going a step further and telling them or showing them how they apply for the rebate, and knowing as the contractor what information you need to provide and how you detail things out on an invoice that that customer then is going to submit for the rebate. Working with a contractor who understands the process and understands what you as the customer are going to need in order to get that rebate is huge. Imagine working with a contractor who maybe they did install a solar-powered hot water system for you, but that plumber didn’t understand the rebates or what you would need in order to apply and get that rebate. Now you’re jumping through hoops, you’re going back and forth, but the deal is closed out, and so they’re not the most responsive and you’re coming up at the end of your tax year and you’re trying to get these things in place.

And so it’s a nightmare. So I think working with a contractor who understands that piece of it is going to give the homeowner a peace of mind. So immediately it’s just another easy selling point, an easy layup for your sales guy to be like, “By the way, we’ve done this a hundred times. We know exactly what we need to provide to you in order to give you the documentation you need to get the government rebate for, whatever, what did I say, the solar-powered hot water system.” So that was just another point I really wanted to make in case you’re like, “Eh, I don’t know if I need to invest the time in this,” but it is just that USP, that unique selling proposition for yourself and your business.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. And talk about a way to create a raving fan that’s going to walk away from that experience and be quick to tell anyone else who asks them about it. Happily go give you that five star review on Google and it’s only going to help you close more deals down the road. And in that process, more likely than not, it’s going to help somebody who is maybe trying to decide between you and another service provider in the area. If you’re the one that’s coming to them with all that information and making it super simple for them, it’s probably going to make it a no-brainer that you’re going to be the one they’re going to go with.

Devon Hayes:

Absolutely. If I was choosing between two and one contractor told me he was going to give me a nice pretty package of how I submit to the government for my rebate versus someone who’s like they have the same five star reviews as the other guy, I’m going to go with the one that’s going to help me save money on top of having five star reviews and make the process simple, I should say.

Amanda Joyce:

Okay. So let’s roll through. Obviously we shot this once already, but before we dove in on either version of this particular podcast, we went through and outlined a couple of the reasons why you might want to make this a priority. And we’ve organically talked through a lot of them, but let’s hit on anything that’s remaining out there. Obviously we can talk about supporting sustainability and just the goodwill that that puts out there to your average consumer. We’re both moms. I’m always drawn to a company that’s giving me that feel-good feel that they’re taking steps to protect the planet that our children one day will inherit from us. So that’s a big one for a lot of people. It can really just help position you as a trusted member of the community. We obviously also talked about financial incentives. Sorry, go ahead.

Devon Hayes:

No, I think you covered it. Just that customer appeal of not all of us are extreme environmentalists and not all of us are just shrewd capitalists that are worried about the financial side of things, but if you can appeal to, I think everybody else falls within the extreme variance and is conscious and would like to save money, then you can speak to both perspectives. And again, like you said, just give that warm fuzzy feeling. So just an increased customer appeal is a massive benefit of diving down the rebate rabbit hole.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. And then the competitive advantage, you could find in your market, maybe a few people have already hopped on this wagon, but we find in a lot of markets across the country, and honestly internationally at this point, that they’re not cashing in on it yet. They’re still creating content that’s more around problems and solutions, but they’re not coming to them with this forward-thinking green incentives. So if you can be somebody who gets that content out there, it starts ranking. You start being the one that people associate with that type of information in your community before anyone else is even caught up. You’re going to have a huge leg up on the competition when suddenly the light bulb turns on with those guys and they realize they should be doing this.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, because your content will have been sitting out there for a lot longer than theirs and so that’ll help you. As we all know, we talk about search engine optimization all the time, but for content to organically start to rank, you want it to sit out there, you need it to sit out there for a while. So if you can start to do this now, even before maybe it’s a major sales push or a major part of the sales process, it’s only going to enhance your efforts digitally if you can be on the forefront and do this faster, sooner, and better than your competitors.

So definitely a great point there, Ms. Amanda, and we touched on this next point, value-added services. I mean, if you’re already installing the EV charger, going above and beyond this to make the rebate process easier on the consumer and having that as part of your selling process, they don’t even realize they’re being sold on that piece of it, or maybe they do, but it’s just adding value to what you’re doing. And at the end of the day, that’s what every business is trying to do is adding value and going up above and beyond and giving more than maybe they’re required to do just because that’s how you create those raving fans and lifetime customers.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. Let’s see here. I mean, I feel like we hit on the financial incentives, but again, it’s our pocketbook at the end of the day. And if you can help people save money-

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, for homeowners. But there’s also incentives for business owners too on the commercial side of things. And there’s partnerships with different manufacturers potentially. So depending on your niche, that’s something that you would have to dive into. But there’s financial incentives for you in that way as well, not just for the end user. So that’s something to consider as well.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. And another thing too that we’ve had a lot of fun educating people with about this particular electrician I keep talking about is there’s also financial incentives. If you were somebody who maybe installs a large EV charging station in your commercial building, you could make money back on it too. So there’s a number of different angles you can take on this as well. In some cases, you’re not only helping them save money upfront with the rebate, but there’s ways that they can continue to capitalize on some of these green investments that they could be making in their properties.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, that’s a great point. All right. So I think that’s last of the list of benefits that we had bulleted out. But with every podcast, we like to leave you with something actionable, a takeaway, something that you can do and implement in your business right away. So today’s actionable takeaway, action item, action extravaganza. I don’t know. We got to think of a catchy segment. I don’t know.

Amanda Joyce:

Yes, we do.

Devon Hayes:

Somebody in marketing should do that for us. Okay, so your takeaway is this. So I would say, first of all, to know and understand thoroughly your federal and state or province rebates for wherever you’re located, really understand them in and out, how to apply for them, how they’re approved, what documentation is required. And then now you’re armed with all that information, then for your business, decide where you want to make the rebate incentive programs part of your, I don’t know, business. Is it organically you want to get the content on your website and you just want people to find you that way? Do you want to make it part of your sales process initially and maybe it’s just a slide in your sales presentation and say by the way, we know how to do this and just see how it kicks off?

Whatever it is, the action item is after the research to choose where you want to focus this rebate content. And then the third piece of that would be then creating the content. Because you can’t be all things to all people at all times. But I think when you think of a big idea like this, if you can break it down into these smaller steps, it’s easier to then expand on it after you do the first piece of it. And Amanda is our content marketing guru, but that’s just where my brain goes. I want to hear your take on this though.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. I would say start out small, figure out what makes the very most sense to get to disseminate that information to the people you want to get it in front of. And like you said, it could be just on your website and maybe like our client did get it on the website and then ask the salespeople to send people there so they can go there and get all that information. But once you’ve got it in one spot, it doesn’t mean you can’t iterate off of it. What we did for these folks was write that initial content and then over time we’ve slowly written more and more blog content. Every few months we’ll create a blog that speaks back to it that maybe has a different take on it then suddenly we’re educating the commercial property owner on how to make money off of their EV station.

And then maybe one time we’re educating a consumer about whether or not they even need to upgrade their panel before they get that EV charger, but so you can continue to expand on it down the road. But initially, when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just get that cornerstone content written, decide where it needs to live, and then you can expand upon it over time when time allows. And whether you’ve outsourced it or you’ve got someone internally writing it, just continue to make it a priority and you really will be surprised how quickly you can position yourself as the authority on the topic.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, and I think the biggest thing whenever you do create the content is keeping it simple. Pretend you’re explaining it to a third-grader, and if a third-grader can understand it, then 99% of your customers will really be able to understand what you’re trying to share with them and how you’re trying to help them along in the process. And I think we touched on this earlier, or maybe that was in the first recording, but I think we did talk about adding it as content initially for your sales process, but we also talked about how you could make it a downloadable piece of content instead of just having it live on your website.

So you can use it as a lead capture piece of content where you can gauge interest in the content that you’re providing within your community. I think that’s another way it can be used. Maybe I’ getting too granular with our action item takeaway because I always do that, but I did want to just really encourage you to think about the way you want the content to be used before you just create it. Because if you’re strategic about it, then you can, as Amanda said, build off of it and make sure it’s the most impactful for your business, but also for the customer.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. It’s a great rule of thumb across the board when you’re creating content, so great point.

Devon Hayes:

Beautiful. Well, thank you for watching, listening. We always love your feedback. What did we miss? Is there something else you would add? We’d love to hear it and thank you. Yeah, thanks for listening. Amanda, did I get it all?

Amanda Joyce:

You got it all. Thanks, guys. We’ll see you next time. That was today’s Trade Secret. Thanks for listening.

Devon Hayes:

Did you find this helpful? We’re just getting started.

Amanda Joyce:

Subscribe and don’t miss our next reveal.

Devon Hayes:

Until next time.